Foreign ownership, Gillard, Slaters, feminism, former staffers, CEO payouts and gigs, Northern Metro, Manningham, Moreland, Rich List and much more

July 22, 2010

Dear Readers,

Greetings for the first time since our last email edition on June 29 and don't forget you can unsubscribe here if these fortnightly governance newsletters are too much to stomach or tell your friends to sign up here if you enjoy them.

Australia's woeful foreign ownership performance

First up, we've cranked up the foreign ownership lists after some more major sales of the Australian farm which are so necessary to fund our huge current account deficit.

Banpu has become the first Thai company on this extraordinarily long list of 250 foreign companies generating revenues exceeding $200 million a year out of Australia. Banpu achieved its entry by launching a generous $6.20 a share offer for Centennial Coal, which values the equity in the company at $2.5 billion.

Our foreign companies list compares starkly with this much shorter list of only 80 majority Australian-owned companies which generate more than $200 million a year offshore, whether through exports or foreign-owned operations.

And we've today added demerged Orica division Dulux to that shorter list because its Asian and New Zealand operations are expected to just crack our $200 million revenue cut-off in 2010-11. Dulux is a rare Australian-owned beast in that it dominates a so-called fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) category, although paint isn't exactly fast moving.

Australian companies underperform globally in many sectors such as shipping, IT, agribusiness trading, hotels, electronics and oil but our FMCG record is absolutely woeful, especially if you exclude wine and the street and surfwear companies such as Billabong and RipCurl.

The other new additional entry to our major foreign investors list is courtesy of Singaporean company Wilmar paying $1.7 billion for CSR's iconic sugar business. Sugar was a rare category which had remained in local hands for more than a century. Not any more! Australia remains one of the most foreign owned first world economies anywhere and, if anything, the trend is accelerating, especially with all these Chinese government resource plays.

Women on boards campaigns land a feminist debate gig

The RACV must be getting close to setting some sort of record when it comes to female board representation after its fifth female director, Patricia Kelly, was appointed in recent weeks. Patricia's biography on the RACV website reads as follows:

Ms Kelly extensive experience in the Financial Services Industry. Over the past 10 years she worked for Suncorp/AAMI where her most recent roles included Executive General Manager Strategy and Business Development Personal Insurance and General Manager AAMI New South Wales. Prior to that she was a Director & Executive General Manager Life & Superannuation of Norwich Union Life Australia. Ms Kelly is a Past President and Honorary Life Member of the Insurance Institute of Victoria and a former Director of the Australian Insurance Institute.

That's an excellent CV for the RACV given insurance remains its biggest business. The other four females on the RACV board include my better half Paula Piccinini, Merran Kelsall, Suzanna Sheed and Netta Griffin.

Meanwhile, our on-going campaign to boost female board representation from the disgracefully low 9% has landed a gig on a debating format which has just hit Melbourne.

The Intelligence Squared debates ran in Sydney last year and our team managed to lose on the no-brainer proposition that the media can't be trusted. Watch my vote losing contribution below:

The IQ2 debates started at the Melbourne Town Hall earlier this year and the first two have drawn crowds of 1,000 people. I'll be involved in the September 22 debate arguing FOR the proposition that "feminism has failed".

There'll be more details to come but it's safe to say that there aren't any other male speakers.

The women directors argument is the obvious starting point, but I'll need to broaden it out and would appreciate as much assistance as possible from all you female directors who get these newsletters. The best email is

Sadly, the ascension of Julia Gillard to the nation's highest office hasn't yet triggered a raft of new female appointments to public company boards. Here are the audio files and links where we've raised the issue at AGMs and check out this list ranking the top 100 female directors on Australian boards. Additionally, there's this list which details the top female executives in the ASX100 - sadly, it's only about 10%.

Meanwhile, here's an innovative suggestion from The Huffington Post: More Women Executives: It's Time for a Different Approach

Additionally, go to WomenOnBoards and check out their ASX Boardroom Diversity Index where data has been split into two sets covering ASX companies 1-200 and then 200-300 showing the participation of women on boards.

Also worth a read is this humourous speech by Erica Smyth to the AGM of the WA Chamber of Minerals & Energy on April 15:
The Wine and Resources Industries – A comparison

Gillard's old law firm produces latest Mayne Report Rich List entrant

We've got more than 1400 names on our Rich List tracking Australians worth more than $10 million and the latest new entry has emerged courtesy of Julia Gillard's old legal shelling out a staggering $57 million for a privately owned plaintfif law firm. Drumroll for our latest wealthy lawyer:

Hilton Misso: the biggest beneficiary of the $57 million purchase of Brisbane-based plaintiff law firm Trilby Misso by Slater & Gordon for an eye-popping $57 million in 2010. He first became a partner in 1974 but largely stopped working for the firm in 2002 when he retired from running the Redcliffe office which was then completely closed in 2006 after operations were consolidated in Brisbane.

This Slaters acquisition sets all sorts of records because Slaters chief Andrew Grech has confirmed by email that he's not aware of another listed law firm anywhere in the world, with the exception of the John Dawkins chaired Integrated Legal Holdings in Perth.

However, Integrated is only capitalised at $9 million, compared with Slaters at $187 million. Law firms are usually owned by their partners, so the idea that there's an outfit in Brisbane worth $57 million is quite astonishing. It certainly says that justice in Queensland is overly lawyer-centric and expensive. Maybe they should try Victoria's no fault compulsory third party accident insurance system which keeps the legal fees to a minimum. After all, the Slaters investor presentation for Trilby Misso reveals that motor vehicle claims represent 53% of the business.

That said, you've got to take your hat off to Slaters and the business they have built. Institutional investors are clearly quite comfortable to fund the Trilby Misso acquisition, having already shelled out $38 million in a placement. Us small shareholders are now contemplating whether to embrace the accompanying $15,000 share purchase plan at $1.40 a pop.

Listed litigation fund IMF is the other unique element in Australia's legal capital markets. At the 2009 AGM in Perth last November, we had quite a discussion about how it had become a world leader in its market. Indeed, they weren't aware of another listed litigation fund.

IMF is tonight capitalised at about $185 million and its shares closed at $1.46. Slaters, its biggest competitor, is capitalised at almost exactly the same figure and its shares closed at $1.45. How about that for a remarkable coincidence involving the two biggest Australian competitors in class actions and two global leaders in their respective markets?

Manningham mayor makes Australia's biggest selling paper

As a councillor on the City of Manningham in Melbourne's east, you notice how rare it is for local government to make the mainstream media. Alas, we did make it into Australia's biggest selling paper when this report appeared in the Herald Sun's Confidential gossip section on Tuesday July 6:

Edited audio from last Manningham Council meeting

The June 29 Manningham council meeting was a marathon that lasted almost 5 hours. Here is some of the edited audio of our contributions and check out the agenda and minutes.

Expressing caution about grouping 14 items together as one

Speaking on the big planning review

Time to get political on the tram

Upbeat endorsement of $37m civic project

Defending past officers and councillors against sewerage criticisms

Leading the push for reduced ward grants

Strongly endorsing new affordable housing policy

Endorsing the new multi-cultural Spring Festival and defending Kevin Andrews' Australia Day event

Very brief explanation of the property valuation cycle

Arguing for more transparent councillor expense disclosure

Speaking on the 2010-11 budget

Contribution to long debate over proposed finance committee

Full debate over finance committee

Asking questions of Mayor and Cr Reid which were ruled out of order

Coming up with blanks in response to Ivan Reid's domestic violence inferences

One of the two questions which our mayor ruled out of order at the June 29 council meeting related to the Labor councillor Ivan Reid's extraordinary remarks at the May 25 council meeting which were interpreted as an accusation of domestic violence. I'm still awaiting a reply to this email sent to Cr Reid, our corporate services director Steve Goldsworthy and all other councillors the day after the June 29 council meeting:

Dear Councillors and Mr Goldsworthy,

Seeing as my question on Tuesday night was ruled out of order by the mayor, I'm now asking it to Cr Reid directly. The text was as follows:

“Mr Goldsworthy, could you please write to Cr Reid and ask him to clarify in an email to all councillors whether or not the person he referred to when discussing item 11.3 at the May 25 council meeting was the partner or spouse of a current or former councillor?”

To save everyone going back and listening to the tape, here is the transcript of what Cr Reid said:

Cr Ivan Reid: Violence against women and children in our community is one of those taboo unspoken things. It's frightening – it really is, how close it comes to each and everyone of us. I know that several of us observed the same unfortunate woman at two separate council functions sporting a black eye – claiming to have walked into a door. My heart went out to that lady, and I'm sure that there are lots of other women or children who are subjected to less obvious forms of walking into doors. So let's not be stingy here. Let's adopt this amendment. Let's lobby hard to the state government and let's ensure that this program definitely does get the $100,000 it needs, and not just $20,000 from us, and a token sum from the government. So please support this motion, and in so doing, you are supporting our women and children.

Cr Reid, could you please clarify the situation by email at your earliest convenience.

Regards, Stephen Mayne

It would be really good if Mayor Pick and deputy mayor Fred Chuah prevailed on their friend and Koonung ward colleague to tidy up this rather unfortunate situation. So far, the only response we've had from Cr Reid was immediately after the public question when he asked me: "Did it remind you of somebody?"

Pokies campaign gathering momentum

As we consider contesting the November 27 Victorian election in the upper house, we've put together this list tracking all pokies venue in the Northern Metropolitan region. Some targeted flyers around each venue are being considered.

Meanwhile, the anti-pokies movement continues to help generate plenty of media stories, starting with this recent front page splash in last week's copy of The Sunday Age: Clubs 'groom' children with arcade games

A similar story ran on July 6 in The Advertiser: Arcade games a risk: Senator

Susie O'Brien, who is married to Nick Xenophon's media adviser Rohan Wenn, also let fly with this strong comment piece in the Herald Sun on July 6: Anti-pokies acitvists say odds stacked against them by State Government

The anti-pokies campaign also produced a fascinating story in The Sunday Herald Sun last week revealing that Jeff Kennett's is involved with a company advising pokies operators.

Senator Nick Xenophon pointed out the link between problem gambling and depression, but Jeff was resolute in declaring there was no problem with him continuing to chair Beyond Blue.

Then again, as Hawthorn President he's pushed the club heavily into the pokies such that its Waverley Gardens venue is the second most lucrative in Victoria, so why would he stop at that?

Finally, check out the latest from Paul Bendat's Pokieact website and this package of our past pokies coverage.

Another questionable CEO payout as Alesco joins $100m loss club

Struggling wholesale distribution company Alesco has foreshadowed a net loss of $126 million for 2009-10 after a write down of $133 million, so it has joined our notorious $100 million loss club.

A concerned shareholder has submitted the following missive about the big payout to Justin Ryan, the now departed CEO of Alesco which has seen its share price tumble from a high of $5.91 on October 21 last year to about $2.50.

Hi Stephen

I hope I can persuade you to investigate the excessive departure terms provided to former CEO Justin Ryan, test the quality of the Alesco board's decisions, and then make a noise about this deal.

Please refer to Chairman's letters to shareholders dated 3 May and 22 June. Ryan "resigned" . He received a cash payout of $1.7m and deferred settlement of loans provided to buy Alesco shares.

Under the terms of employment Ryan was required, on resignation or termination for cause, to settle loans within 30 days. The chairman made no clarification of loan value, deferral period or reason for the decision but there's a $5.1 million provision for unwinding the executive loan scheme.

I cannot deduce from published accounts exactly how many shares Ryan had acquired or the loan value. From the 2008 and 2009
accounts it seems that he may not have a significant carryforward and that any major volumes would have been purchased in this current year.

Regardless, why did the Board not insist on at least a substantial part of the payout being offset against the loan?

And why did the Board not exercise Alesco's security over the shares loan?

It seems to me that a commercial decision has got in the way of HR policy and contract observance. Ryan has paid little price for choosing to resign or being axed for non-performance. Alesco has given him time to divest advantageously while using others' funds. The suckers in all this are shareholders like me who, in the June letter, were advised of a $133 million impairment hit and, consequently, no final dividend.

More power to your arm !

Cheers, John

Stand by for the remuneration report to be defeated at the coming AGM. Maybe things would have been better at Alesco if the six-person board wasn't all male and all Anglo.

Upcoming AGMs: Macquarie, Programmed, SingTel, Slaters and Saracen

The AGM scene is pretty quiet at the moment although flights have already been booked for the annual Macquarie Group extravaganza on July 30 in Sydney. Have a look at our past eight encounters with the Millionaire's Factory and check out the video below from the 2008 AGM where we put to the board that their listed infrastructure fund model was a dead parrot.

Other upcoming shareholder meetings include the following:

Saracen Minerals: an EGM in Melbourne on July 29 after it raised $35 million in a placement at 38c to institutions in mid 2010 but failed to follow through with an SPP. They have been added to our SPP shame file list and this issue will be pursued aggressively at the EGM.

SingTel: an EGM in Singapore on July 30.

Programmed Maintenance Services: August 6 AGM in Melbourne at 11am.

Slater & Gordon: 11am in Melbourne on August 9 to approve the institutional placement which is funding the eye-popping $57 million acquisition of Brisbane-based plaintiff law firm Trilby Misso.

Kimberley Metals: an EGM in Sydney on August 10 to approve a selective Chinese placement with no follow through SPP.

New list: Australian companies with foreign mining operations

In light of the African tragedy involving the Sundance Energy board and the big debate about foreign miners paying their fair share of tax in Australia, we've decided to commence tracking the foreign mining operations which are run by Australian-based companies.

BHP-Billiton obviously comprises the majority by way of value and here is a sample of their global presence:

Boulder: is a BHP-Billiton controlled potash development project near LeRoy in the Canada's Northwest Territories.

Cerrejon Coal: is Colombia's largest coal exporting company and BHP-Billiton has a 33.3% stake. Located on Guajira Peninsular in north east Colombia, South America.

Hotazel Manganese: located in the Kalahari basin in the Northern Cape Province of Southern Africa, BHP-Billiton hold their South African manganese interests through a 60% holding in Samancor Manganese which in turn, owns a 91% stake in two manganese mines - Wessels and Mamatwan.

Check out the full list which we'll be building over time.

Northern Metro watch: Labor delays inquisition against "the witches of Moreland"

With Julia Gillard becoming Australia's first female Prime Minister and Labor attempting to support two good women to win the Victorian state seat of Brunswick (Yarra mayor and Slaters lawyer-shareholder Jane Garrett) and the Federal seat of Melbourne (ACTU assistant secretary Cath Bowtell), the blokes who administer the party in Victoria have decided to delay the inquisition against Labor's three female councillors in the City of Moreland.

It would certainly not be a good look to suspend or expel three quality ALP women on a council which covers much of the same electoral territory as Brunswick and Melbourne. Maybe they'll be sent off to Siberia (or perhaps East Timor!) after the Federal and State elections are done and dusted.

Ironically, Jane Garrett will probably be up against independent Phil Cleary, who is arguably the most prominent male advocate in Melbourne on the issue of domestic violence against women.

For more on all that fascinating history at Moreland, which covers part of the Northern Metropolitan upper house, check out these two earlier stories written for Crikey covering the issue:

Labor burns the witches of Moreland as Phil Cleary watches on
Friday, March 26, 2010

Greens, DLP and women line up to skewer Moreland's blokey Labor faction
Monday, 14 December 2009

Tracking former federal government staffers

One of my favourite lists projects on Crikey over the years tracked what happened to former political staffers in Canberra since Bob Hawke's election in 1983. The lists remained dormant for five years so in recent weeks we've spent many hours updating them and have also created a new list tracking where departed Rudd Government staffers finished up.

These lists rely on emails to or use of the anonymous tips box and here's an example of exactly the sort of updates we like to receive from one former Howard Government staffer:

Fiona Cameron: was broadcasting adviser to Richard Alston, left to work for Cameron O'Reilly's radio outfit, now Executive Director, Strategy & Operations at Screen Australia.

Fiona Poletti: arts, then broadcasting adviser to Richard Alston, has done various things, including organising the first Earth Hour in Melbourne, now Director of Special Projects at Circus Oz.

Julie Abramson: former Costello adviser, stints at various places including NAB, now National Director of Policy for Civil Contractors Federation (engineers).

Kate Harvey: staffer for David Kemp and Nick Minchin, went to ASIC, returning this week to her home town of Adelaide to commence in a senior role at the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation.

Sasha Grebe: former Alston staffer, had stints with Tourism Australia, AWB & Yarra Trams, has returned to home town of Sydney to work for the Royal Australasian College of Physicians.

Nerida O'Loughlin: seconded from Comms Dept to be Chief of Staff to Peter McGauran when Arts Minister, now General Manger, Digital Economy, at ACMA.

There have been plenty of other updates so check out the three lists below and send through any corrections or feedback:

Tracking the former Hawke Keating staffers

Where Howard staffers finished up

Where Rudd government staffers went

Cornwall on the Gillard approach

Former Fairfax and Crikey cartoonist Mark Cornwall has been contributing to The Mayne Report since March 2009. Here is a collection of his best cartoons and there are now also some amusing animations.

Firing up our Youtube channel again

When The Mayne Report first launched in 2007 we were posting daily videos on Youtube. Alas, the cost and time of in-house video production, plus the lack of any revenue, made this model unviable. Besides, a daily video wasn't necessarily the best way to campaign for better corporate governance through shareholder activism.

In the end, it made more sense to channel our efforts into appearing on other people's videos, such as these two recent appearance on Ten's The 7pm Project, rather than trying to build an audience from scratch.

However, when you look back at all the video we've got spanning our own productions, one-off interviews, profiles or lenthy interviews such as Nine's Sunday program or ABC TV's Talking Heads, the monthly spot on Sky's Business View and webcasts of AGMs, it turns out we've got a rather large library of material.

Cross-posting has become much easier now, so we have relaunched our youtube channel and hope you enjoy our many playlists of material. If you have the right app, you can view the videos on the go using any mobile device - free and easy, so subscribe today!

Cornwall on boat people

Donate to help keep our activism and list research going

The Mayne Report costs almost $100,000 a year to run and we moved to a free model in June last year after struggling along seeking subscriptions for the first 21 months racking up almost $200,000 in losses.

It has been nice to receive more than $7000 worth of donations over the past year and if you fancy giving a hand to help fund our activism, research almost 100 lists and keep us going on the political and AGM circuit, just click on the image below:

New list: the CEOs who sat on other boards

Should public company CEOs sit on other boards? The Australian Shareholders' Association says no, but I'm not so sure having heard the likes of David Gonski expound on the development such experience has fostered in CEOs he has worked with over the years.

We've now got almost 100 different lists on The Mayne Report and here's the latest we have started with 20 examples of big name CEOs who have simultaneously sat on other major boards:

Don Argus: CEO of NAB from 1990 until 1999 and joined the BHP board in 1996.

Will Bailey: CEO of ANZ from 1984 until 1992 and joined the Coles Myer board in 1991.

Michael Chaney: sat on the BHP board for most of his stint whilst CEO of Wesfarmers.

Terry Davis: has been Coca Cola Amatil CEO since 2001 and then sat on the St George Bank board from 2004 until the 2008 Westpac takeover.

Geoff Dixon: the then Qantas CEO joined the board of PBL in 2006, the same year he quit Leighton Holdings.

John Elliott: sat on the National Mutual board whilst CEO of Elders IXL.

Jerry Ellis: joined the ANZ board in 1995 when was an executive director at BHP running the minerals division before stepping up in 1997 to be non-executive chairman.

John Fletcher: retained his seat on the Telstra board after coming out of retirement to be CEO of Coles Myer in 2001.

Fred Hilmer: quit all his boards with the exception of Westfield when selected to run Fairfax in 1998.

Wal King: has served as Leighton CEO since 1987 and in 2002 joined the Coca Cola Amatil board.

Brian Loton: CEO of BHP from 1981 until 1991 and served on the NAB board from 1988 until 1999.

Frank Lowy: executive chairman of Westfield who found time a few years back to serve on the board of Britain's Daily Mail Group.

Dick McIlwain: persuaded to take the job running Tatt's Group in Melbourne after the Unitab merger in 2006 and then somehow managed to also chair Brisbane-based Wotif and Super Cheap Auto for the next couple of years.

Rupert Murdoch: CEO of News Corp since 1953 and served on Philip Morris board fore more than a decade starting in 1989.

James Packer: executive chairman of PBL who served on the Qantas board from 2004 until 2007.

Peter Smedley: CEO of Mayne Nickless 2000 until 2002 and was chairman of OneSteel fom 2000.

Gary Toomey: was finance director of Qantas in 1998 when he joined the ANZ board and retained the post until he came a cropper as CEO of Air New Zealand when Ansett collapsed in September 2001.

John Stanhope: long time CFO at Telstra who is an executive director and also sits on the board at AGL Energy.

Sol Trujillo: retained his seat on the Target board in the US when recruited to Australia in 2005 to run Telstra.

Stan Wallis: CEO of Amcor from 1977 until 1996 and joined the AFIC board in 1987 and chaired Santos from 1989 until 1994.

If we've missed any obvious ones, drop us a line to

The big debt issues continue under Prime Minister Gillard

Having surrendered much of the projected revenue RSPT revenue in the compromise deal with BHP, Rio and Xstrata that created a rather benign MRRT, Prime Minister Gillard will soon discover she's locked into a structural budget deficit that will require ongoing substantial increases in public borrowings.

If anyone needs assistance on the debt questions, this list tracks all bond and treasury note issues by the Labor Government since it was elected in November 2007. The latest federal bond issues are as follows and you'll note that interest rates are still north of the 4% assumed in last year's budget papers:

Wednesday, July 7, 2010: $950m tender of 6 year bonds expiring in June 2016 were sold for an average yield of 4.86% and was over-subscribed 1.8 times.

Friday, July 2, 2010:
$700m tender of 3 year bonds expiring in November 2012 were sold for an average yield of 4.44% and was over-subscribed 2.7 times.

A mixed time punting the market

Firstly, check out all the trades so far this year.

We've been lightening our exposure to the stockmarket during the recent tremours and have reduced the margin loans from about $60,000 to $10,000. As of July 1, 2010, the portfolio of 673 holdings was only worth $50,503. The overall paper loss was $11,029 and the average holding was down to $83.

Since then we've traded in and out of Seven shares to make a quick $400 and also gained a modest $300 playing the scaled back Gindalbie Metals share purchase plan.

In terms of the capital raising pipeline, we've put $15,000 on the table for the GUD SPP because it is currently $800 in the money and the pricing mechanism includes a guaranteed 2.5% discount to the market price based on the 5 day VWAP leading into the July 21 closing date.

Assessing the capital raising pipeline

Here is the list of known offers in the pipeline which remain open and we're considering:

Cardno: 1-for 6 entitlement offer at $3.25 with overs. Closes August 3 and trades August 12.

Citadel Resources: 3-for-4 entitlement offer at 29c which closes July 19 and trades July 28.

Slater & Gordon: $15,000 SPP at $1.40 after placement. Closes July 30 and trades August 16.

Saracen Minerals joins the SPP shame file

We continue to track companies since the beginning of 2007 which did cosy placements with big institutions but then treated retail shareholders with contempt by failing to follow through with a share purchase plan. Given Slaters got it right, maybe we should think about sicking them onto the recalcitrants in a class action.

Check out the list of offenders here with the latest addition to the list being:

Saracen Minerals: raised $35 million in a placement at 38c to institutions in mid 2010 but failed to follow through with an SPP. This issue will be raised strongly at the EGM in Melbourne on July 29 and the following email has been dispatched to the CEO and spin doctor:

Dear Guido and Simon,

I'm a small shareholder in Saracen and was wondering when you'll be announcing your SPP so that retail investors can participating at the same price as the privileged insiders at the big end of town who took up the recent placement us shareholders are now being asked to approve.

A follow through SPP is pretty standard after placements these days and it is a shame Saracen is yet to commit.

Even a company like Westfield did an about face and came back with an SPP after retail complaints following its placement last year so I trust you'll be able to do likewise.

I look forward to your reply.

Regards, Stephen Mayne

The reply was unsatisfactory waffle.

More Cornwall on boat people

From the press room and a new radio time slot

After 10 years of regular spots on 774 ABC Melbourne, there's been a slight change to the schedule. From this week it will be at 4.30pm each Wednesday rather than 5.30pm.

This will mean a smaller audience tunes in but it makes sense for host Lindy Burns to put all the regulars back to the 4.30pm slot so that the highest rating hour can be left free for more breaking news.

The good news is that this will mean I won't now have to miss one spot a month to attend the 6pm board meeting of our aged care provider operated through the Manningham Centre Association.

However, this Wednesday won't be a goer because council has a special meeting starting at 5pm to deal with a major governance decision.

Anyway, here is the audio files for the last three 774 spots which have all been with Libby Gore as Lindy took a much-deserved break coinciding with the school holidays:

774 ABC Melbourne - discussing Frank Lowy, mining tax and John Faulkner retirement on July 7.

774 ABC Melbourne - discussing changes to the super profits tax on July 1.

774 ABC Melbourne - discussing the events of the past financial year on June 30.

The one Crikey story since the last edition appeared last Friday as follows:
Meet Rod Allen: the Fairfax heavy now fighting Fairfax for the FFA

Mayne Report traffic doubles in 2009-10

The financial year has ended so we've now got the full traffic figures to compare. In 2009-10 we had 1.41 million page views and 782,414 unique visits. In the 2008/09 financial year our page views were 701,046 and unique visits hit 420,383.

The top 3 articles for the 2009/10 financial year were The Mayne Report Rich List with 60,340 page views and 52,285 unique visits. Next was Capital raising plays since Jan 2009 with 44,136 views and 40,692 visits, followed by All share transactions in 2009 with 36,577 views and 32,796 visits.

In the 2008/09 financial year the same three articles filled out the top 3, but Capital raising plays since Jan 2009 was the most frequented with 34,546 visits. All share transactions in 2009 was next with 32,796 visits followed by The Mayne Report Rich List with 32,075 visits.

Our video traffic in the 2009/10 financial year was at 85,500 compared to the previous time period where 21,095 people tuned in.

The most listened piece of audio of the year was this old chestnut from the 2008 AXA Asia Pacific AGM Time for chairman Rick Allert to retire, with 6,046 people tuning in. In the previous financial year this was also the most listened to piece with 4,089 tuning in.

Finally, 16,873 people in the 2009/10 financial year subscribed to our audio podcast channel that distributes our best audio and weekly radio spots.

Tales from the talk circuit

The talk circuit is one of four revenue streams that partially offset the costs of running The Mayne Report. The other three are freelance journalism (such as these Crikey stories and these columns for Fairfax's, the modest $22,000 stipend for serving on Manningham Council and profits from playing the margins on capital raising plays.

The majority of speeches are unpaid and here's the rundown for the next few months:

Tuesday, July 13: breakfast debate in town with the Total Environmental Centre.

Thursday, July 15: after dinner speech to Hartnell Colloquium on corporate law reform at ANU in Canberra.

Wednesday, July 28: one hour presentation to Australian Investors' Association annual conference on the Gold Coast.

Monday, August 2: speech to some technology risk professionals.

Tuesday, August 10: speech to local Probus Club.

Tuesday, August 24: speech to ASA's Albury-Wodonga regional group.

Wednesday, August 25: speech to a U3A AGM.

Wednesday, September 22: Intelligence Squared Debate in Melbourne arguing that feminism is dead.

Tuesday, October 26: speech to Society of Association Executives.

Monday, November 8:
speech to local Probus club.

Tuesday, December 7: presentation to the Geelong ASA, Lessons from an activist shareholder

Is has been quite surprising to be a professional speaker serving on a local council who has only been called upon to deliver about half a dozen council speeches in 18 months. Must say something about not being in with the mayor's majority group.

Speeches generate plenty of reaction and you can see some of the feedback here.

Click below if you fancy engaging with my better half Paula over a future gig.

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Sign up for Mayne Report Tweets

With more than 1600 followers on Twitter, we are regularly dropping out the latest developments from AGMs, capital raising plays and even Manningham Council. Sign up below to get the latest updates from all our activity and check out some of the latest tweets since the last email edition:

12.03pm July 9: Have written story for Crikey on former FFA spin doctor Bonita Mersiades and the challenges of her successor Rod Allen given Fairfax jihad.

10.06am July 8: Made $300 yesterday exiting Gindalbie SPP and $400 in a week trading Seven shares. Ploughed 15k into GUD SPP given 2.5% discount to market.

9.25am July 7: 774 ABC Melbourne discussing the changes to the mining tax after positive discussions between PM Julia and the miners

10.23am July 1: Just bought 1000 Seven shares at $5.49. Sent smart alec email to Bruce McWilliam saying looking forward to $15 record high promised at EGM.

6.35pm June 30: regular chat on 774 ABC Melbourne discussing the events of the past financial year

9.17am June 30: 5 hr public council meeting last night. Big fight over new finance committee with 5-4 vote to be resolved at special meeting in a fortnight.

2.24pm June 29: VLGA policy director and former Port Philip mayor Darren Ray under pressure after criticisms in Ombudsman report into City of Port Philip.

11.47am June 29: Just sent latest mayne report email ezine. A bumper issue. Check it out here

1.38pm June 28: Just back from 1st day of Man'ham councillor conduct panel hearing and love this Gillard video:

4.16pm June 26: Taking forever to get through papers on Gillard. Been kicking footy with kids, now prep time for Monday's panel hearing re our dep mayor.

2.47pm June 25: Am working up a list tracking where Rudd staffers go. All help appreciated:

That's all for now.

Do ya best, Stephen Mayne

* The Mayne Report is a multi-media governance website published by Stephen Mayne with occasional email editions. To unsubscribe from the emails click here.